Traveling in Italy’s Off Season: Florence

November 20, 2012

Thinking of visiting Florence… in the winter? You’re in luck—we think it’s one of the best times of year to come! (Really!) Here are a few reasons why you’ll like Florence in the off season… as well as some other (maybe not as great) things to keep in mind about the off season in Florence!

When is the off season in Florence? November to Easter, excluding Christmas and New Year’s.

What to expect in the off season: Florence is a small city that gets big tourist crowds. In the off season, this doesn’t go away entirely (it never can!), but it does lessen a lot. You might not have Michelangelo’s David to yourself, for example, but you might be sharing him with only one or two dozen other people—and you probably won’t have to worry about a line to get in.

Winter in Florence comes with perks—including, in December, Christmas markets!

It also, of course, makes it easier to people-watch… the Florentines, that is! Now’s a great time of year to linger over a glass of wine in a Florentine enoteca, watching the well-dressed locals around you.

Around Christmas, moreover, you start to get that festive feel in the air. Twinkling lights are strung across the streets, Italians are out in droves shopping for the holidays, and Christmas markets start to pop up.

Just remember that the weather can be chilly, and wet. November is the rainiest month of the year for Florence, which tends to get about 4-5 inches of rain that month—an amount comparable to New York City, but, believe it or not, twice as much as the average for London. (Really!). The coldest month is January, which averages between 34°-50°F. Still, compared to many other parts of the world, it’s still relatively mild.

In winter, sights like Florence’s Duomo are far less crowded

If you come to Florence in the low season: Bring layers—and if you want to “fit in” with the fashionable Florentines (or at least not look like a first-time tourist), remember the winter dress code: leather shoes for men and boots for women, wool button-up coats, leather gloves, and, of course, a stylish, warm scarf (for men too!). Other than that, simply enjoy. This a fantastic time of year to visit Florence!

Don’t miss our earlier posts on what to expect in Italy’s lake district, Venice, and the Cinque Terre in the off season!

by Walks of Italy

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6 responses to “Traveling in Italy’s Off Season: Florence”

  1. Tiana Kai says:

    Florence has been cooooold, but so beautiful to walk around and see all the lights up. Coffee smells better and pasta tastes better in the winter too. 🙂 The Holidays are a great time to see any new city since there are always lots going on.

  2. travelyn says:

    Would love to visit Florence again, not keen on the rain but can always visit the Uffizi and stay dry. Unfortunately I didn’t go inside the Cathedral which I regret. Maybe I’ll get a second chance. Christmas Markets are always so attractive much fun and as Tiana says the aroma of coffee and food is more alluring on a cold night. Would I visit Florence in winter. Yes I would.

  3. Jill serres says:

    We are planning to visit Florence, Rome, Venince and some other city right after Christmas. We would like to spend New Year’s Eve and our 30th anniversary (Jan. 3) in Florence. Are shops, museums and points of interest open during this time? Do have any suggestions for visiting both Florence and th other cities during this time of the year But are worried about places being closed.

    • Walks of Italy says:

      Hi Jill,

      Many places will in fact be closed during this time, though most just on January 1st, rather than all of the holiday season. Still, you’ll be able to find restaurants open and the cities lit up in holiday lights and atmosphere. For New Year’s Eve we suggest reserving your restaurant in advance to be sure you get a place.

  4. Tejas Sanghani says:

    Thanks a lot for posting this and have got a good help from this. I had some questions though:

    Is this during the first half of November or during the second half?

    I am planning to travel to Venice on 03rd and 04th of November, 05th and 06th to Rome and 07th and 08th to Florence.
    What would you say about the weather especially in Venice during my travel dates?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Much appreciated!

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